Over 4 million people in the United States alone use braces, and 1 million of those are adults. Having braces on crooked teeth is nothing new, nor is it unusual, but still, many people do not understand what they do and how they work. Are you considering getting them, and do you need a run-down of what that entails?

Below, we offer details on what they can do for crooked teeth, what the different kinds of braces are, and what a post-braces world looks like. So, read on and normalize the idea of achieving straighter teeth in the future.

How Braces on Crooked Teeth Work

While you may have seen braces before, it might be wise to start with the basics.

Braces are tools that an orthodontist applies to your teeth to help correct teeth alignment and try to straighten them out. By applying gentle pressure to all your teeth, they can move them into a position more like the traditional smile. This pressure is also constant, meaning the teeth will not move back to where they were before while the braces are in.

These devices can also work to help with many other issues. These include:

  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites
  • Tooth gaps
  • Crowded teeth

You can talk to your dentist or orthodontist about the full list of issues braces can resolve and if you qualify for their use. Though, you should be aware that wearing them is not a short-term solution. You may end up with them for several months, or even many years, depending on how severe the tooth misalignment is.

Traditional Braces

These are the style of braces it is most likely you have seen, or noticed, on other people. They comprise several different components, including:

  • Brackets
  • Hooks
  • Wires
  • Elastic
  • Separators
  • Archwires

Each one of these has a different function, from acting as an anchor on the teeth to pulling or pushing teeth in different directions. Though, one of the simplest descriptions of how they work is that each bracket attaches to an individual tooth. Between them, an orthodontist strings a wire and pulls it tight to try to gently move teeth.

These braces work well for most issues that one might have with their teeth. The only problem is that they are the most noticeable of all braces, and as such many people opt for more-modern devices that are less visible.

Clear Aligners

Instead of being made of metal, clear aligners such as Invisalign act as a transparent alternative. They are not attached to the teeth permanently but instead remain in for short periods, such as two weeks. As they are removable, they make oral hygiene much easier, as people often remove them to either eat or brush their teeth.

An orthodontist will produce a “mold” to create these aligners. Over time, though, this mold sees slight adjustments to be closer to where the teeth should be, rather than where they are now. This encourages the teeth to move toward a different position over the series of adjustments.

As these devices are transparent, they are great for people who want to be more discreet about their treatment. Brand names such as Invisalign are also trendy, meaning the devices impress people rather than having a bad reputation.

Lingual Braces

Instead of on the outside of the teeth, an orthodontist will place these braces on the inside (or “lingual” side) of the teeth. Over time, they will correct the teeth in a very similar way to traditional braces but will be much harder to see due to their placement.

One of the downsides to this option is the proximity of the braces to the user’s tongue, although most people find they adapt fast. On the flip side, they are very hard to see, and so many people find them vastly preferable to braces on the outside of the teeth.

If you feel you can keep up with the new habits you will need to form when it comes to oral hygiene, these are a good alternative to the traditional options.

Periodic Adjustments

Braces are not a one-time thing. You will need to keep returning for orthodontic treatment to have them altered as your bite starts to become more normal.

The orthodontist will tighten or replace specific wires between the braces to help the teeth move. In general, there are likely to be several months between appointments, but they could also occur after only a few weeks.

Changes In Your Lifestyle

If you get braces, you have to get used to the idea that they exist inside your mouth all the time. This can cause both discomfort and also embarrassment. You will need to start to develop new habits when it comes to both eating and oral hygiene.

For example, you cannot eat sticky or tacky foods for a long time while you have these devices in your mouth. If you do, you may end up damaging or even pulling off the braces. Getting sticky candy stuck in your teeth may even end up with you needing to revisit the orthodontist to get them cleaned.

Using a Retainer

After the braces are no longer in, that is not the end of the process. Teeth often try to return to their previous place, due to their natural positioning and the person’s bite. For this reason, you will need to have a “retainer” in your mouth for several months to even several years.

You only need to wear some retainers during the night, whereas others must stay in for longer. Talk to your orthodontist about what they want from you to get the best results.

Seek Out Professional Dental Help

This article should have given you all the details you need to ensure that if you get braces on your crooked teeth you won’t have a single worry. Still, the next step is going through with the procedure. We can help you get through that without needing to fear anything.

Our orthodontists have training to ensure your braces installation goes as smoothly as possible. So, give us a call and ask any questions you have, so we can start you on the journey toward a more beautiful smile.